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senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i know we're on the milcon appropriation bill but i did not want to lose the opportunity to talk about a pressing issue before the country today and that is how we will work to resolve the nation's obligations to its creditors and what the failure of doing that means to the nation and to each and every american. and so, mr. president, i rise to ask a simple question of my republican colleagues: when is
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an entitlement not an entitlement? apparently, given the rhetoric and actions of some of our friends on the other side of the aisle, the answer would be that an entitlement is not an entitlement when it benefits an entitled class of wealthy americans. in the republicans' ideological haze that is swirling around washington these days, it's only an entitlement when it goes to the middle-class families, to students, to seniors, to the disabled, to the downtrodden and the dispossessed. those entitlements, according to the republicans, should be on the chopping block. but entitlements to the wealthy can never be on the table, despite the fact that our current tax code allows the wealthiest 400 taxpayers in
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america to pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the average new jersey family. less than the average new jersey family. mr. president, what republicans will ultimately do, their goal in this debt negotiation, ought outlined in the house-passed budget that ends medicare as we know it, the baseline of retirement security for our seniors. what was the retirement security of my mother in the twilight of her life as she struggled against alzheimer's, after having worked a lifetime to help build a family and be part of contributing to a community. she would not have lived with the dignity that she deserved in the twilight of her life but for medicare as we know it. and it makes a middle-class life in america more expensive and less accessible. now, it seems to me that our
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republican friends, their policies would make sure that the richer get even more rich at the expense of the middle class. they think that the rich are entitled to all the tax loopholes they get but seniors and the disabled, they don't really need the health benefits they're getting. and we call this leadership? do they call it leadership to stand on ideology, send this nation into default? default basically means being a deadbeat. i think average americans understand what being a deadbeat is all about. we teach our children to meet their responsibilities. we say don't incur debt, but if you incur that debt meet your responsibility. pay it. but now we have leaders in this nation who say let's have the nation be a deadbeat. and we would leave a senior citizen who lives -- i know some
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of our friends here may not have an appreciation of this, but who lives month to month only on social security, standing hopelessly on the front porch waiting for a check that may not come. you call that leadership? you call it leadership to risk increasing interest rates on mortgages when families are struggling to pay at the current rates on student loans, on car payments, on credit cards that middle-class families can ill afford now? they call it leadership to risk leaving a wounded veteran without a benefit check? or active military men and women, their families without a paycheck. they call it leadership to risk a spike in prices that increases the cost of groceries and gas and potentially costs a middle-class family in new jersey an additional $1,500 in
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the short term? they call it leadership to risk an end to unemployment benefits, to states leaving those already struggling in this economy at risk of losing what little they have? they call it leadership to risk medicaid payments to states for disabled seniors in nursing homes who have no other options? but amazingly allow a millionaire who owns a stable of racehorses a depreciation allowance on the tax code on those racehorses? that's an entitlement we shouldn't touch. that's leadership. the bottom line, it's estimated that about $125 billion worth of bills on average may have to be put off if we don't deal with meeting the nation's obligations. mr. president, it's not leadership if the dollar
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plummets and america loses. it's not leadership if no one follows but the far right wing of the republican party. if we're going to balance the budget by limiting entitlements and subsidies and earmarks, perhaps we should begin with those entitlements in the tax code that benefit those who are the wealthiest in the country. perhaps we should look at ending entitlements for rich oil companies who receive $2 billion a year. they receive in just two tax breaks that the code gives them $21 billion over the next ten years. and yet, oh no, we can't touch that, but we can tell some senior that in fact they have to be on the chopping block, that medicare has to end as we know it. or how about $6 billion for ethanol producers.
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or how about the racehorse depreciation allowance? or the billions year after year that defense contractors think they're entitled to. how about investing in new bridges and tunnels and a new state-of-the-art transportation system in new jersey instead of kandahar? mr. president, our friends on the other side who believe that we should balance the budget by spending cuts alone are more than willing to bargain away student loans, bargain away prescription drug coverage, even bargain away nursing home care for the elderly parents to protect entitlements for big oil companies, billionaire corporate executives who travel the world in private jets and millionaires who believe they are entitled to all of the tax loopholes they're getting now after the biggest tax cut in history, entitled to tax cuts but not obligated to create american jobs. contrary to the false rhetoric we hear from the other side
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about a correlation between entitlements for the wealthy and job creation. the hard right wing of the republican party has come to the table willing to give up nothing, unwilling to accept an offer by the president and democrats of trillions of dollars in spending cuts, potential savings in entitlement programs and tax reform options, all of which they have been demanding, unless we agree to protect to the entitlements that exist for the wealthy. not even a single penny on the revenue side of the option. don't touch those entitlements for the big five oil companies. don't touch the entitlements for the corporate jets. don't touch the entitlements for the racehorses. don't touch any of those entitlements given the tax break and having a code where an incredible universe of
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corporations in america don't even pay at the end of the day by aougs all of the provisions -- using all of the provisions of the code anything towards the common good. they come to the table with nothing. they look america in the eye and tell us we cannot cut subsidies to big oil companies. wewe cannot put entitlements to big corporations on the table because they conveniently through this political sleight of hand label any attempt to end those tax breaks, those entitlements as a tax increase on what they like to call the job creators. and their excuse for such an irresponsible bargaining position? trickle-down economics. i've heard this so many times over the time i've been here in congress. but the problem is nothing has ever trickled down. and yet, those same entitlements for the entitled, the $5 trillion entitlement the bush tax cuts would cost going forward over the next decade
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that we are told at the outset would create jobs have turned to be the greatest failed jobs program in american history. and i look at how those taxes, tax breaks are skewed to the wealthiest. i understand the opportunity to help middle-class families, and i promote that because they are the ones who spend in this economy and create demands. but the way those tax cuts are skewed to the wealthiest, $5 trillion, i ask my friends, where are all the jobs that were supposedly going to be created as a result of that? where are all the jobs these republican entitlements to the wealthy were supposed to produce? where are they? when middle-class americans are struggling to make ends meet, pay the bills, keep their jobs, their health care, their homes, entitlements to the entitled are the most reckless kind of spending. this is the irresponsible
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republican entitlement, spending that should be on the table. the very entitlement spending that contributed to our current debt. and yet, our friends on the other side continue to protect these entitlements. you know, they will not vote to raise the debt limit unless we cut entitlements for the middle class, the working middle-class families of this country, but they protect entitlements for the wealthiest americans. they're holding a gun to our heads at a critical time in our economic history, but we need only to look back at how often republicans themselves have raised the debt limit. as you can see from this chart, to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, george w. bush had seven increases of the debt
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ceiling, increasing it by 90% for the largest increase in history, a total of over $5 trillion. that includes the entitlements for the wealthy that they will not put on the table in the name of shared sacrifice, even if it means america defaults on its debt and becomes a deadbeat and sends a ripple effect throughout the world and its economies that come back crashing on our shores here in the united states. so it's amazing to me. ronald reagan, he raised the debt ceiling 18 times. 18 times in eight years, a total percentage increase of 199% amounting to $1.8 trillion, which in today's dollars would be $4 trillion today.
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18 times, ronald reagan. 18 times. george bush, seven times for $5.3 trillion. and that amount, by the way, under the bush years ends up being what? what is it equal to? the bush tax cuts. $5 trillion. now they will not raise the debt limit to protect the good faith of the american financial system, to protect middle-class families who already lost so much under republican economic policies that led us to the brink of economic disaster. the whole confluence of what happened in september of 2008, where we had these bush tax cuts totally unpaid for, denying the federal treasury those moneys at a time in which we had two wars raging abroad in iraq and afghanistan and new entitlement
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program unpaid for, and a marketplace that instead of being a free market, which i support, became a free-for-all market in which investor decisions end up becoming collective risks to the entire country. and that's what we have been facing. instead of meeting this responsibility, they favor cuts in entitlements to seniors, to the disabled, the families struggling to make ends meet, to students seeking to get the college education that can help fuel america's prosperity. that's what we saw in the house republican budget that passed. but are willing to decimate our nation's economy to protect entitlements for the rich. they've dug in their heels and walled off irresponsible, unnecessary tax breaks for big oil companies. they've walled off entitlements to multibillion-dollar corporations and millionaires
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who need no entitlements because they believe, blinded by their ideological haze, that the rich are entitleed to their outrageous ways even if it means ballooning the deficit and sending the nation into default on its debt. entitlements for these special interests, cuts for everyone else. mr. president, republicans prefer to talk about cutting entitlements rather than what it really means. rather than cutting social security, rather than cutting medicare, rather than cutting medicaid. because cutting entitlements seems so much esoteric. it's not very personal. but we all know our families, our mothers and fathers who may be getting their health care on medicare, or one of them who may be sitting in a nursing home on medicaid. or a poor child who is getting their health care being taken care of on medicaid. we know our friends and
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neighbors with disabilities. and we understand what those challenges are. let's be clear, the only entitled people, republicans are talking about in this debate are those who already enjoy enormous benefits under the tax code, both individually and corporations who feel entitled to these pretty outrageous tax breaks. oil companies, use i heard from the executives who appeared before the senate finance committee, they clearly feel entitled to $21 billion in subtkeus. -- subsidies. millionaires and billionaires think they're entitled to the bush tax cuts. corporate titans th*eur -- they're entitled to tax breaks for their jets. and republicans think these are the only entitlements worth protecting. it's time to stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and middle-class
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working families in this country. it's time to stop protecting government handouts to the entitled class at the expense of the middle class and telling america in good economic times that it stimulates the economy and in bad times that it's a job-creation policy. the truth is it is neither. it is simply an entitlement program for an entitled small class of americans who are not struggling to make ends meet or pay the mortgage or afford health care or find another minimum wage job to put food on the table. mr. president, this stark contrast of wealth in the nation is in the numbers. the 400 wealthiest taxpayers, those who get the most out of republican entitlements, had an average income in 2008 of $270
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million. almost $300 million. that amounts to an hourly wage of about $31,000 an hour. their average tax rate was about 18%. in contrast, the median new jersey household earned about $64,777 the entire year as opposed to just two hours -- that equateed to two hours for the richest 400 people, and yet they paid an average of 21.2%. they paid a higher percentage of less of their wages than those 400 top earners in the country. a first lieutenant at fort dix, new jersey, earned about about $52,000. he paid an average tax rate of 18.9%. so i ask, mr. president, looking at these numbers, what should be on the table and what should not. the fact is we are offering
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solutions. we are simply asking for fairness and for our friends on the other side to bring something to the table other than a political ideology and an unrealistic ultimatum, all in order to protect an entitled class that needs no protections. i don't usually agree with the conservative columnist david brooks, but as i have said on this floor before, i agree with him when he says -- quote -- "the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation's honor." willing to stain their nation's honor. and i agree when he wrote that if the debt talks fail, independent voters will see democrats as willing to compromise but republicans were not. mr. president, though, this is not even about that. at the end of the day, this is about the nation.
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this is about our economy. this is about trying to get people back to work. this is about trying to ensure families can realize their hopes and dreams and aspirations. this is about the united states of america, a beacon of light to the rest of the world, the gold standard in terms of credit and meeting its obligations continuing to be that gold standard and that beacon of light or becoming a deadbeat in the world. mr. president, i would go even further and say the american public will see right through these efforts to protect entitlements for a privileged class while those americans who struggle every day to build the foundation of this america, the cuts go on their back. they come to the table with nothing other than an ideological fixation that
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prevents them from negotiating in good faith, prevents them from putting the interests of the country ahead of their narrow political interests. i see that -- i have read some of the comments about this issue as it relates to, well, you know, do we end up giving president obama the ability to get re-elected or not? this is not about president obama. this is about the united states of america. this is about our country. this is about being responsible at one of its most critical times. this is about getting the country back on track. this is about giving the private sector faith and confidence that we are not going to default on our debt, that we're going to meet our obligations. it's about telling investors in the world the united states is still a good place to invest in, and when those investments are made, jobs are created, people go to work. once again, they have the dignity of work taking place. they are able to spend in the economy, the economy grows, that creates other jobs, other opportunities, and we move
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toward fulfillment once again of a great american opportunity. that's what this debate is all about. it's a debate about each and every one of us, and the sooner our friends realize that, it's not about a political equation, it's not about who wins and loses in a political context, it's about the nation, and if we can fix our attention to the needs of the nation, then i have got to believe that we can meet this challenge in a balanced way. clearly, if ronald reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times and if george bush raised it seven times, then this time, the first time under president obama that it needs to be raised, which is merely to pay the obligations we already have, i have got to believe that responsible people will come forward and say yes and do it in a way that isn't on
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the backs of middle-class working families. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: r from new jersey. mr. menendez: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: on behalf of senator leahy, i ask that his law clerk on his staff, brendan forbes, be granted floor privileges for the week of july 18, 2011. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: with that, mr. president, i observe the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: thank you.
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i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent to call up amendment number 553. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, for mr. mccain, proposes an amendment numbered 553. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: first, without objection. and the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. johnson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota is recognized. mr. johnson: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and i call up my amendment 556, which is at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from south dakota, mr. johnson, for himself and mr. kirk, proposes an amendment numbered 556. on page 114, between lines 18 and 19 -- mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment be
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considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. will the senator from south dakota withhold his request on the quorum call? the senator from illinois is recognized. a senator: this is a joint amendment. mr. kirk: this is a joint amendment. i support it. it is about arlington national cemetery. this sets up the vote leaders have scheduled for monday afternoon.
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that is what we're doing right now to continue the consideration of that bill. with that, i yield back. mr. johnson: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york is recognized. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i understand there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: h.r. 2018 an act to amend the federal water pollution act to preserve the authority of each state to make determinations relating to the state's water quality standards and for other purposes. mr. schumer: i now ask for a second reading, and in order to place the bill on the calendar
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under the provisions of rule 14, i object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will receive its second reading on the next legislative day. mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that on monday, july 18, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 82, that there be 30 minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of time the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on calendar number 82. the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, that any related statements be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and then the senate then resume legislative action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i understand that there is a bill at the desk, and i ask for its first reading.
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mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. monday, july 18, that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 3:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, and that following morning business, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 2055, the military construction veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations bill. further, that at 5:00 p.m. the senate proceed to executive session under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, there will be a roll call vote at 5:30 p.m. on 0 monday. that vote will be on the confirmation of j. paul oetken
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to be united states district judge for the southern district of new york. mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> the library of congress is considered one the greatest photographic resources in the world. we're here in the civil war photograph exhibit. if you were to look at every book in the library, how long could it take? you'll find lots of answers in the c-span original document "the library of congress" airing monday night. we'll tour the jefferson building, great hall, reading room, show treasures found in the rare books and special collections, including the original thomas jefferson library and presidential papers
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from george washington to thomas coolidge, and the hidden selections and holdings for the future generations. join us for the "library of congress" 8 eastern. look at every photo and spent just one minute on each it will take over 24 years to see them all. >> as debt limit negotiations continue in washington, senators staked out their positions on the senate floor. here's part of today's debate, starting with senator majority leader harry reid. >> mr. president, there's some in the republican party who will not listen to the truth, no matter who speaks it. this is my opinion. we allow this nation the first time in it's history to default on the national obligations it will not only be a black mark on
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credit, but a disaster that will sweep the globe. it's not just my opinion. i've come to that belief by listening to the most respected voice. default, i quote, is a risk our country must not take. they are not the only one who believe that's true. the most respected bankers have said it, jpmorgan chase, jamie diamond said default would be catastrophic. investors have said it. bill gross sent us the warning yesterday. he said, quote, there should be no question at all. the debt ceiling must be raised and not be held hostage by budget negotiations. don't mess with the debt ceiling, washington, is what bill gross said. economist have said it, ben bern -- bernanke has said default would be a major crisis that would send shock waves through the world financial markets. yesterday he said failure to
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avert default would mean huge financial calamity. even other republicans have said it. this is what speaker boehner said in april. quote, not raising the debt limit would be serious. very serious. implications for the worldwide economy and jobs here in america end of quote. perhaps most telling of all, all three rating agencies have already sent warning shots across. last night, moody cautioned us that america's aaa, triple a rating, was already on review for downgrades. never in the history of the country has that happen. being reviewed to downgrade. we have just three weeks left until we miss our first payment. they quote the rising possibility that we would default. they said they would lose the crucial rating that saves americans money even before we miss a payment.
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they have told congress that even if the united states keep pays creditors but delays payment such as social security or veteran it could cut our rating. fitch has said default would, quote, threaten to steal financial stability on the united states and the world has a whole. closed quotes. why are some republicans in congress still saying the first ever default on our nation's financial obligations would be no big deal? when every financial expert, investor, business leader, banker, and every responsible remember of your own political party is telling you the consequence of default would be catastrophic, it's time to start listening. why? because default won't just royal the financial markets, pushing interest rates higher and tank the stock markets. it will affect every american's wallet as well. here are a few of the things. social security checks and veteran benefits and paychecks to our troops would stop.
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some of the most vulnerable americans would be placed at risk. our promise to the men and woent today would be broken. we would not be able to make payments to our military. payments on the national debt would stop, american retirement accounts, millions of americans could lose their jobs. interest rates would rise, not only for the government, but for ordinary americans as well. those americans will pay more for their mortgages, more to use a credit card or buy a car. they will even pay for electric, groceries, and gas. the spike in interest rates and the damage to the united states dollar alone would cost the average american family more than $1500 immediately. it would be the most serious financial crisis the country has ever faced, and come at a time when our economy can at least afford it. it would wind up not costs
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millions or billions, but trillions of dollars of president. the fact that republicans fail to mention. it will cost our nation again $1.3 not millions or billions or zillions. for every one percent in interest rates, it will cost $1.3 trillion. there's so much at stake. even speaker boehner seem to understand the seriousness of this situation. they are willing to negotiate in good faith, which i appreciate. and the country appreciates. meanwhile, house majority leader eric cantor has shown he shouldn't even be at the table. republican agree shouldn't be at the table. one republican told politico last night the hill publication quote, he lost a lot of credibility when he walked away from the table. it was childish. end of quote. that's all about mr. president. we had negotiations going on in the room 219 short jog from
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here. and he's walked out on the meetings. with the vice president of the united states. it was childish. another republican said cantor is putting himself first. he said this, quote, he's all about eric. end of quote. the time for personal gain and political posturing are over. it's time to put our economy and our country first. the risks that we face for something too great. we don't need to take my word for it. more than 300 respected business leaders wrote to congress the night before last to make it clear how serious the crisis really is. quote, again, a great nation, like a great company, has to be relied upon to pay it's debt when they become due. they further said this is main street, not wall street. this is a main street issue, not a wall street issue. we're listening. it's time for the irresponsible voices in the republican party that continue to deny the truth
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of this crisis to start listening as well. >> mr. president, i standard here today. i've spent some time over the last few days really thinking about the dispute regarding the debt limit as we are hearing from constituents around the country looking at washington and asking themselves what's going on. what are you guys doing? it's a difficult process for people to understand. they elect us, send us here to serve our country and solve problems. yet they read in the newspaper all of the startling statements now that president saying a few days ago he can't guarantee social security payments, others saying that our bond rating might be at risk. the reality of daily life that more than ever americans are finding it hard to find a job. the one that is do are working twice as hard, making half as much. things are tough across the country. they have gotten tougher over the last couple of years, unfortunately, people have a right to be upset with the direction that we're headed. it was one the reasons that compelled me to run for the u.s. senate was the hope to come up
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here and making a difference. be part of putting the country on a track that helps us to embrace all of the things that made us exceptional and unique, and continue to make us exceptional and unique. i look at debate. what's the dispute about? two things are clear. number one, we can't tonight to do what are doing now. anyone that argues that we can is doing a disservice to our country. you cannot have a government that spends one and a half trillion more than it takes in every single year. you cannot have a government that spends 40 cents out of every $1 is money it's borrowing. you can't do that. look at europe. i think greece was downgraded. they are on the verge of being in default. not greece, ireland. why are the countries in trouble? not because they refuse to pay the debt limit. people don't think they can pay back the money. we are looking at the countries.
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we don't know how you are going to pay us back. your economy doesn't produce enough money. you have no plan to bring spending under control. we've lost confidence in you. that's the message that's being sent to europe today. if we keep doing what we're doing now, that's the message that's going to be sent here to america very soon. and the impact that that will have, not just on our country, but the world with is quite frankly devastating. that's what we are facing. the fundamental problem is twofold. we have a government that spends more money than it takes in, and we have a government that doesn't take in enough money to pay it's debts because the economy is not growing. that's why i have argued from the days on the campaign trail when i got elected that the way out of the problem is a two-pronged approach. you have to do them both. you have to cut spending. we have to have spending cuts and discipline. it doesn't all have to happen over night. but we have to stop spending $1.3 trillion of money we do not
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have. we cannot continue to do that. that's why i support the cut, cap, and balance plan. it says we're going to begin to cut in a real way, we're going to cap the ability of government to control to grow it's spending in future years, and we're going to ask and give the states to ratify a balanced budget amendment for our country that basically says you can't spend more money than you take in. states balance their budget. businesses have to balance their budget. family haves to balance their budget. if the federal government does not begin to balance it's budget, we may cross a line that's irreversible and put us in a place similar to what you are seeing in europe today. on the spending side, it has to happen. people pretend it can do it over night. it's going to take a while to get out. we have to start trending in the right direction. it's critically coronet that some sort of spending discipline plan be put in place. look, i don't want to get overly -- i know there is political. the debate always framed by politics. i like everyone else fully
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participate. today for a moment, i want to step back and say this. ultimately, i want to see a solution to the spending plan. i will welcome if it comes from the white house, minority leader, majority leader, i want someone to step up and offer a plan that begins to bring spending discipline under control. i know i've endorsed one. it's called cut, cap, and balance. it's out there now. if there's a better way to do it, offer it now. what are you waiting for? now is the time to offer it. if someone in the building has a better way to bring spending under control, then now is the time to offer it. don't negotiate in the shadows. all of the negotiations we're hearing about in the press. where's the plan? the document that tells us and shows how you bring spending under control? because now is the time to show it. now the time to do it. what are waiting for? that's on the spending side. but spending cutting are important, essential, we can't do it without it. we can't do it without fiscal spending discipline. it's not enough. we also have to grow.
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we have to grow. and that's where the quirks of the debate has really gotten. you hear in the press, the fight is because certain people don't want to raise taxes on certain people. that's thought what the issue is about. everyone agrees that we need growth. that government needs growth in it's revenue so it has a way to pay down the debt. the debate is about where disease the ref knew come from? some argue the way to get more money is you raise taxes. you raise taxes on rich people. i have two problem. my first problem is it doesn't work. you can't raise taxes high enough to collect enough money to make a difference on the debt. i looked at some of the tax increases that the president and others have proposed. it adds up to less than ten days of deficit spending. even if you raise the taxes of what they define as rich to 100%, it's still not enough just for one year. tax increases don't work because they don't work. they don't generate enough money
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to do anything about it. the second reason why i can't support tax increase, because it will kill jobs. the debt thing is a huge issue. it's really important. but the jobs issue is even more important. the number one issue in washington is the debt. and rightfully so. it's a huge, enormous, generational issue. but unemployment is a number one issue in america. we're talking about people that have worked hard their entire lives that went to school, did everything that was asked of them. now they go out into the job market and can't find a job. it's especially astonishing among young people. 25, 30 years of age. went to college. got the degree. now they are trying to find a job and can't. certainly not for what they studied to be. we have to get it turned around. every other problem that we face in our country, housing crisis, all of the problems become easier to deal with if you have more people working, making money, paying taxes, and spending into the economy. unemployment is where you have to get that.
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you are not going to create jobs by tax increases. if someone has a tax increase that creates jobs, i invite you to offer it. we're all ears. right now, if someone in washington has a tax increase that helps create jobs, offer it. i would submit to you that you are not going to find one. there are no tax increases that create jobs. if you don't grow the economy, there's no way out of it. you can't cut your way and certainly can't tax your way out of it. does that mean we can't do anything? of course not. our tax code is broken. there are a bunch of things in the tax code that do not belong there. i think there's bipartisan support whether the media tries to ignore it or not, i think there's bipartisan support in the senate, house, in washington for tax reform. tax reform we can get done. tax reform means we'll look at tax code. if there are things in the tax
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code that are there because somebody hired a lobbyist and got put in it, and it not good policy. it shouldn't. if we find enough, we can lower everybody's rate. make the tax code simpler and easier to comply with. that's what we should aim at. because that's what job creator tell us. i have never met a job creator tell me they are look for a state with high taxes. i never met one. there maybe one. i invite anybody here to produce for us a job creator. a company or individual that says what they are looking for is they are looking to open a business some place where the taxes are high and difficult to understand and the regulations are expensive to comply with. because that's what we have in america. you want to know why jobs aren't being created? that's what we have in america. if someone knows of a job creator anyone in the world that looking for a high, complex tax environment or looking for a
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high regulatory environment, i would like to meet them. because i have yet to meet a job creator looking for that. there's bipartisan support for the idea of tax reform. simplifying the tax code. making it easier. do it the right way of lowering everybody's tax rate. people have more money in their pocket to spend into the economy, to grow the business, to start a new business. that's how jobbed are created. i know all of us would like to think that senators and presidents create jobs. not outside of the building, they don't. jobs are created when everybody people from all walks of life decide you know what i'm going to do today, i'm going to open up the business. i'm going to open up the business in the spare bedroom of my home or out of the garage. or when someone has an existing business and decided i'm going to grow. i'm going to hire a couple more people. i have belief that the business can do better. we need to get people excited
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about doing that again. you are not going to get them excited about doing it again if the taxes and regulations are out of control. let's begin to focus with regard to the debt limit on some of the things there has to be agreement on. there are two things. we must control our spending, and we must put a plan in place that shows the world how america will bring it's spending under control and we have to do something to grow our economy. you ask any job creator in the real world. what are you looking to grow your economy? we're looking for confidence. we get confidence from knowing that regulations are predictable and easy to comply with and the tax code is predictable, affordable, and easy to comply with. i submit if we focus on those things and not all of the other noise that goes on in the back and forth of this place, we can actually start moving towards a solution. the last point i would make is the world compromise. it's a very popular word around
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here. there's nothing wrong with compromise. so long as the compromise also happens to be a solution. because if you are compromise doesn't solve the problem, you've just created a new problem. nothing wrong with compromise. maybe your ideas of tax reform are different than any ideas of tax reform. ultimately, we have to solve the broken tax code. compromise is not a dirty word, until the compromise makes it worse, not better. too often times in politics, compromise leads to things that make things words, not better. if you raise taxes in this economy with 9% unemployment, you are going to make things worse, not better. i hope that we will rally in a bipartisan fashion around the concept of tax reform of creating a tax code in america that encouraging people to create jobs here once again. if we can solve the problems issue, if we can begin to solve the unemployment issue, all of these other issues that we face as a nation become easier to deal with.
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with that, i thank you for your attention. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president, we are at a pivotal moment in american history. i think many americans are confused, perplexed, angry, frustrated as to where we are today and how we got to where we are and what the consequences of decisions made in the past are being made right now will mean to their families. let me just take a minute to try to give you my view as to how we got to where we are and what are options are. as you stated, mr. president, and senator harkin before you, anyone who talks lightly about default and saying it is not a big deal for this country are clearly does not understand what he or she is talking about. this is the greatest nation in
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the history of the world. this is a nation who's faith and credit has been the gold standard of countries throughout the world. this is a nation since george washington which has paid out every nickel that it has borrowed. which is, in fact, why it is the great nation that it is and why we have the strongest economy in the world today. troubled though it maybe. the idea for some people to simply oh, not a big deal, we're not going to pay our debt. nothing to really worry about. those are people who are wishing our economy harm for political reasons and those are people who's attitudes will have terrible consequences for virtually every working family
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in this country in terms of higher interest rates, in terms of significant job loss, in terms of making a very unstable, global economy even more unstable. this country which has paid it's debts from day one must pay it's debts. and i can't say it any more clearly than that. now our republican friends, especially our right wing friends that now control the house of representatives, they have given us an option. and here's their option. what they have said is we want to do deficit reduction. and this is how we're going to do it. we're going to end medicare as we know it and force elderly people many of whom don't have the money to pay substantially more for their health care.
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so when you are 70 under their plan, and you get sick, and you don't have a whole lot of income, we don't know what happens to you. they forget to tell us. what they did tell us is medicare is not going to be there for you. and they told us that tomorrow if their plan was passed, you are going to have to pay a heck of a lot more for the prescription drugs that you are getting today. oh, you don't have the money. hey, that's not our problem. and they told us we're going to make sal average cuts in medicare. throw millions of kids off of health insurance when 50 million americans have no health insurance today. they want millions more without any health insurance. and if your mom or dad is in a nursing home and that nursing home bill is paid significantly by medicaid, and medicaid isn't paying anymore, they forget to tell us. what happens to your mom or dad
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in that nursing home? what happens? and what happens today if you are unemployed? and you are not able to get unemployment extension? what happens if you are a middle class family. trying to send your kids to college and you make savage cuts in pell grants and you can't go to college. what does it mean for the nation if we are not bringing forth young people that have the education they need. they forget to tell us that. it's one the growing numbers of senior st. s -- citizens in this country that are going hungry. they want to cut nutrition programs. and on and on it goes. every program that has any significance to working families, the sick, the elderly, children, the poor, they are going to cut and in a savage way. they are going to do that in a midst of a recession where real unemployment is 15% and middle
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class is disappearing and poverty is increasing. that's their idea. when you say to them, well, hey, the very, very rich are doing phenomenally well. the top 1% now earns more income than the bottom 50. the top 400 wealthiest families in this country own more wealth than the bottom 150 million americans. don't you think maybe it's appropriate that when the rich are getting richer and their tax rates have gone done, their effective tax rates are the lowest in modern history, when major corporations with making billions of profits, some cases not paying a nickel in taxes, don't you think maybe it's fair they contribute to the deficit reduction, rather than just the elderly and the sick and working families? and they say, no. we've got a line in the sand. and if it means this country will default on a debt for the first time in history, that's
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okay. but we are absolutely going to defend the richest people in the country, millionaires and billionaires and make sure they don't pay a nickel more in taxes. we're going to make sure there is no tax reform. so we can continue to lose $100 billion ever single year. because wealthy people and corporation stash their money in tax havens in the cayman islands while we savage tax breaks for working families. those are the choices that our right-wing republican friends are giving us. defaults with horrendous economic consequences for working families in this country and back for the entire economy. or massive cuts to programs that working families desperately
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need? well, you know what, mr. president, neither of those options are acceptable to me and neither of those options acceptable to the vast majority of the people in this country. every single poll that i have seen says that the american people want shared sacrifice. they don't want or believe that definite reduction can simply come down on the backs of the weak and the vulnerable. the elderly for children and the poor. that's a wealthy and large corporations also have to participate. mr. president, i must also in all honesty tell you that i have disappointed by the president's role in these discussions. and some of his ideas. he has brought forth an idea that categorically regret.
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making significant cuts in social security. when someone reaches the age of 85, they would lose $1,000 as opposed to what they would otherwise have gotten. this senator is not going to balance our budget on the backs of an 85-year-old person who's earning $14,000 a year. not with my vote. and this senator does not agree with the president that we raise eligibility age for medicare from 65 to 67. because i don't know what happens to millions of people that work their whole lives, finally reach 65, anticipating medicare, but it's not going to be there for them. i very strongly disagree with the president on those initiatives. mr. president, let me just tell you that elections have consequences. and i think many people now are beginning to catch on to that.
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it is no secret that our right wing republican colleagues did very well in the november 2010. they captured the house of representatives, and now a year plus later for the first time in the history of this country we are on the verge of a default. so i would close by saying to the people all over this country is that if you believe that we have got to start investing in america and creating the millions of jobs that this country desperately needs, elections have consequences. and if you believe that we have to address the deficit crisis in a way that is responsible and in a way that asks the wealthy and large corporation also to play a role in a way of senator harkin mentioned a moment ago, that
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calls for cuts in the defense spending and bringing our troops home as soon as possible from afghanistan and iraq, you have got to be involved in the political process. in my view -- in my view, a group of people in the house who's views represent a small minority of the american people are holding this congress hostage. and it is time for the american people to stand up and say enough is enough. the function of the united states congress is to represent all of our people and not just the wealthiest and most powerful. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. >> clerk will call the roll. >> the library of congress is considered one the greatest photographic resources in the world. we're here in the civil war
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photograph exhibit. if you were to look at every photo in the library's election and spend a minute on each, how long would it take? you'll find lots of answers about the unique library in the c-span original document "the library of congress" monday night. we'll tour the jefferson building, includes the great hall and reading room, we'll show treasures found in the rare books and special collections, including the original thomas jefferson library from george washington to thomas coolidge's collection, and how to preserve the holdings for future generations. join us for the library of congress 8 eastern and pacific. if you looked at every photo in the collection and spent just one minute on each, it would take over 24 years to see them all. >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, american
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artifacts visit the library of congress. >> recently health and human services secretary kathleen sebeilus talked about youth, the current health care system, and the implication of the health care act. >> first of all, we wanted to thank you so much for taking time out of the business schedule to be here with us today. we know that you have an incredibly busy job, and so we're just thankful that you are taking time to talk with us today. i guess we really want to thank you for not only being there to push and pass health care, but
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implementing health care reform as well. i know thinking about our generation, we definitely benefit from two major provisions of the affordable care act. one is the dependent coverage, my parents are excited that i can stay on their plan until i'm 26. and also making sure that college plans come under the consumer protections under the affordable care act. we are excited to have you here today. >> absolutely. during the q and a we'll like to talk about health care. just because you are young doesn't mean you don't need to care about your health or that you don't get sick. president clinton highlighted some of the ways health care is working for americans. not all of america wants us to. that leads us into the first question. with the divided congress, how can hhs use their own authority to improve americans health?
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>> the great news that affordable care act is the law of the land. so we are implementing the law of the land. and letting people take advantage of the benefits. as our chair and emily have already said, you know, one the provisions that hit this year is allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plan up to the age of 26. a really big deal. our mom of 20 somethings. our older son went to law school. didn't have health care with that transition into college. our younger son, well, we're not quite sure what he was doing, but it didn't come with health care either. that's changed. and that's really good news. and we know about 600,000 young adults are already enrolled in their parents' plan. probably up to a million and a half people can do that. so a step at a time. we're putting the provisions in place. and i think that's really good news for a lot of americans who
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know can take advantage of the plan. parents and kids with preexisting health conditions no longer have to worry about the fact that their children will be blocked out of their insurance policy. that took place in 2010 also. i don't know that's a step forward. the congress is continuing to peck away and pick away. frankly until they would be able, which i hope is never, to repeal the bill and have the president sign the appeal. this is the law of the land. we're going to implement the law and make sure everybody has a opportunity to have health care in the country. >> i know we are all excited about that. i guess just looking at the theme of this conference being making truth power, what can we as young people do to educate our peers about the affordable care act? >> well, i think there's a lot that you all can do. first of all, i think the strategy that worked really well
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in the 2008 election cycle is exactly what we need. people learning the facts and then really doing a door to door household to household, community do community education plan. great web site that gives facts and figures, gives a timeline for the implementation, tells you what's available now and what's coming and also has a whole lot of information about the insurance market that people never had before. it gives very good facts and figures. you all are capable, and i know worthy, to be terrific health ambassadors. promoting what's real and really pushing back hard on the lives and mistruths. a couple hundred million has been spent during the course of the debate. telling people things that were never going to be in the law in the first place. trying to scare seniors and small business owners. so i think the more that you
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know about the law, and the more that you tell people, that's just not true. you know, there really aren't death panels in the law. already improvements for medicare, there are improvements for young people, you know, there is what will happen and what won't happen. that's really, really helpful on a one-on-one basis to be health ambassadors. >> i think that's so pertinent that you say that. that's definitely something earlier in his speech president clinton highlighted sharing the truth that you know with the people that you know. so people have the right information. i love that you both highlight that same point. i think it really speaks a will the. and kind of, i guess, to follow up on the question. being those health care ambassadors, what is at stake for young people if we don't become involved in the health care debate and don't become the health care ambassadors? >> i think one the major laws that passed 46 years ago, long
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before you all were born, was medicare and medicaid. which put a framework together for the poorest americans and for seniors in this country that said, you know, you have a guaranteed right to health care. you make it to 65 in this country, and you shouldn't go bankrupt. you shouldn't lose your house, lose your kids assets, because of a health incident. at the point that medicare was passed, about 70% of adults had no health insurance. as they went into their senior year. so you are now on the brink of that same promise made to the rest of the country. that's what the affordable care act says. is everyone in the country should have the assurance that you have affordable, available health care, that you shouldn't lose your house, that you shouldn't go bankrupt, that it shouldn't depend on what state you live in or what employ you work for, or whether you are a male or female. right now, women are more likely to be uninsuranced and under
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insured and less likely to have all of the services covered. if you are in the audience and you are a woman, you have more at the stake. because you are more likely to pay more and get less out of the current market. we're on the verge of that promise being delivered to the entire country. and i hope that you'll join this battle. because it's about you and your future and about your kids future to turn this corner once and for all on america. and make sure that every single person has the right, has the opportunity to have a affordable, available health care now and into the future. that's a really big deal. >> yes, you need to applaud for that. then you need to go out and work for that. >> bring it up. that's right. >> you bet. >> you know, you really highlighted a point that a lot of people don't think about. how this really is delivering on a promise for everyone. and you talked about how women
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can benefit a lot from this field. just thinking about our generation. regardless of the political affiliation that a person may, a young person, may be swayed to. we all seem to have this passion about equality for all. so what are some of the steps that the administration is taking to ensure that all americans have hang seases to care that they need, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. >> that's a great question. i talked a little bit about women. a little typier piece on that snapshot. right now in the insurance market, women are likely to pay 15-20% more for identical coverage. plans are less likely to have birth control coverage than viagra coverage. makes not a lot of sense. >> oh my god. >> they are liking not to have maternity coverage at all. so that women pay out of pocket
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a lot more. and insurance companies right now by law can exclude women from policies or can exclude services for women. that will change will the affordable care act. that will not longer be the law of the land. that's a big, big step forward. [applause] [applause] >> same thing happens with the lgbt community. we know that a lot of the health needs are not being met. we're not even collecting accurate health data for needs that folks have in the lgbt community. we have done a lot at the frontline of one the agencies dealing with this issue. we started with a lot of administrative changes. so changing the laws for hospital visitation, it's no longer okay for hospitals to pick and choose who gets to come into a persons room at the end of their live or when they are in a health emergency. the patient get to designate who
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their family is and who their loved ones are. if you want to get paid by medicare, that rule is changed. very big deal. [applause] >> we've changed and listed the hiv/aids travel ban. it used to be up until six months ago, if you were confirmed with hiv/aids, you could not travel into the united states. you didn't get legal visa in order to travel. that's now gone. so we know have lifted the travel ban, lifted the sigma that goes with it. we are moving into an era where we have a lot of new domestic strategies on dealing with folks with hiv/aids. but also testing protocol and outreach protocol where at the forefront of dealing with the anti-bullies initiative throughout our school work and behavior health services and really moving to the point where we are not only going to start
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collecting important health data, but that will allow us to do a lot more research for the lgbt community. a really big step forward. so not only does the affordable care act create a marketplace, create medicaid coverage for a lot of folks who couldn't get it, but also make sure that there is affordable health coverage for aids and hiv-positive patients. because here's the deal, insurance companies right now in the current market can pick and choose who gets coverage and who doesn't. if you have a preexisting health condition of any kind, you can be legally locked out of the insurance market for the rest of your life. that is coming to an end. and that is a huge step forward for all of america. [applause] [applause] >> this is, i guess, is on a more personal note.
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a lot of us is easy to forget aside from being a cabinet secretary, you are a real person who goes to work every day and has those kind of experiences. i guess the question kind of touches on that. what for you, has been the biggest joy of being so instrumental in the passage of such a historic health reform, but then on the flip side of that, what has been the biggest headache and struggle of working to constantly defend the reforms that you are working on? >> well, i have in terms of the biggest joy. first of all, it is just a thrill to be in the cabinet. i am a huge fan of our president and i have to pinch myself on a regular basis sometimes when i look around the room. i'm not seeing a photograph. this is me, i'm not room, we have an out-of-body conversations with myself. but on a personal note, my dad was in the united states congress in 1965. he sat on the energy and
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commerce, he helped write the health care legislation. he's now 90 and i'm in the place administering medicare, but also part of the next big generation. that was a huge thrill to kind of come full circle. i can tell you, he's happy that he passed medicare in '60s. i think we'll all be very happy about this. to be part of this historic moment is incredibly special. you know, the biggest, i think, pain about it is to continue a debate a lot of times about issues that just aren't real. and to continue to have to push back on what our intentional lies and mistruths. that's frustrating during the course of the debate. it's still frustrating. a lot of people have a lot at stake. some people are doing just fine. frankly making a lot of money off of the current system.
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their families are okay, their loved ones are okay. they don't have to worry about this. and they risk a lot of financial changes with a new marketplace where 80 cents of every health dollar has to be spent on health-related cost. if we are really successful in keeping people healthy in the first place, we won't be spending as much on acute care. we won't have as many sick people and everybody will have access to the same coverage. so pushing back on some of that day in and day out is kind of pain in the neck. but when i travel around the country and when i talk to moms and dads who say i never thought i'd be anal to have the piece of mind that my child who was born with a heart defect would ever get coverage in my lifetime. i have a daughter who now has health insurance. i'm a small business owner and i can now provide coverage for the
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employees and i keep the best people in my shop. that's a really good feeling. that's what this is all about. one person at a time we're going to make the change. [applause] [applause] >> secretary sebeilus, we all thank you so much for all of the work that you do. it's been great talking with you. >> yeah, just thank you for your time not only here, but the time you spend working on it, but as a daughter who know has health insurance, a big thank you for our generation and the two of us. [applause] [applause] >> one final request. we really need you. we need your voices. we need your energy. we need your effort to make sure that this moment is not lost. part of the moment is to make sure we have a president in 2012 and beyond who is committed to this plan.
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part of it is to push back on the mistruth. we have a congress that wants to continue to move ahead. this is an important moment. when social security was passed, it was five years between the time that the taxes began being collected and the time the benefits went into place. there were numerous bills that went through congress all the way to the president, were vetoed by the president to repeal social security. there was a bunch of court challenges that made their way through courts that declare it unconstitutional. once the benefits were fully realized by the american people, that debate was over forever. so that's the moment that we're in right now. and we need your help to make sure we never go back again. we only go forward. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> this weekend on c-span, live from salt lake city. the nation's governors look at the lesson of 9/11 and featured speaker, thomas friedman talked
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competitiveness and the economy. look for live coverage saturday at 5:30 eastern. and sunday at 1:30 eastern. the national governor's association. this weekend online on c-span radio and on c-span. >> this weekend on booktv on c-span2 on afterwords in hesitation kills. jane blair relives her experiences on the frontline in iraq. >> tonight on c-span2, white house advisor testified on capitol hill about the new
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consumer financial protection bureau. the senate foreign relations committee holds a hearing on sudan and the new nation of south sudan. and later today's funeral for former first lady betty ford. >> consumer financial protection bureau advisor e -- elizabeth warren faced the committee today. there was her third trip on the agency set to begin work next thursday, july 21st. it was created as part of the dodd-frank. it's primary is to over see financial products, including mortgages and credit cards. this is three and a half hours. >> we exist for two fundamental principals. first americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. and second, americans deserve an
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efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers. because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. we will work tireless in partnership with citizen watchdogs to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine tax reform -- i'm sorry, genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is our mission. today's hearing is an important one. because the consumer financial protection bureau is intended to bring protections to the american people in and around financial products. we're here not to micromanage every aspect of that. the committee -- the financial services committee has a responsibility to look at the details of that. what we are hear to do is our

U.S. Senate
CSPAN July 14, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT


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on 7/14/2011